I don't think there was parity in 1981. Military personnel received some hefty pay increases during the early Reagan years to make up for the disparity. Reagan was sworn in as President in January 1981 after the disastrous years of the Carter Administration.Average military pay would be almost equal to civilian wages by 2012 under an ambitious plan approved Wednesday by the House Armed Services Committee that sets up a direct confrontation with the Bush administration over how much of the defense budget to allocate to personnel costs.
Under the plan, the Jan. 1, 2008 military pay raise would be 3.5 percent for all ranks — 0.5 percentage point larger than the average private-sector pay raise last year. As a result, the gap between military and civilian wages would be reduced from the current 3.9 percent to 3.4 percent, according to Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Ark., chairman of the committee’s military personnel panel.
The gap is measured by comparing average military and civilian wage changes since 1981, the last time rough parity supposedly existed....